Couples today, married or not, have been feeling the fallout from being stuck with one another at home. Relationships often suffer when hard times happen.
How do we give one other space and lots of grace when marriage becomes hard?
How do we survive sheltering in place with those we love but can’t get away from?
A friend, who said she’s not a germaphobe, told me this week she asked her husband to please take off his shoes when he came home from the grocery store to avoid tracking in germs. He forgot because it’s not his usual routine and she said she felt angry that he was endangering his family! She knew it was an overreaction on her part but everyone is feeling hyper-sensitive and anxious these days.
We’ve never lived in a time when it wasn’t safe to be with others, even family. And it’s producing stress in our most important relationships. Interestingly, as the virus declines in Asia a corresponding increase in divorce filings has been recorded. Here are a few thoughts on how to avoid that statistic in your marriage.
I was mentored for many years via books and articles by Elisabeth Elliot. One of her constant replies when asked what to do when in difficult times or relationships was, “Do the next right thing.” We all want to know what’s ahead, to have things figured out, to know when this will end, but Elisabeth’s wisdom reminds us of God’s words, “You do not know what tomorrow will bring,”(James 4:14). Because we can’t know the future, do what is needed next today.
Two other well-known quotes have given me comfort and guidance: “Never doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light,” by Lilias Trotter, and “Faith is the refusal to panic,” by Martin Lloyd-Jones. Both of these pithy truths remind us of the enduring strength of truth, of a covenant, and our marriage promises chosen when we could see clearly. Remembering your promises, “in better or worse, in sickness and health, till death do us part.” in these hard days will carry you into better days to come.
Two years ago in another time of stress in our marriage, I wrote a prayer. The truth of going to God for His open-handed help in any difficult time in marriage, even this world-wide Coronavirus pandemic, is the best advice of all.
Lord, I need to borrow from You.
We had another disagreement,
My husband and I.
His officing at home for a year now
has produced more opportunities
to trust You than I expected.
Exposed more of my flaws than I care to see.
My time is not my own,
my house is no longer my daytime or part time sanctuary,
my kitchen island his landing strip
backpack, keys, stacks of files, scattered along its length.
Like when my children
usurped my world, my space, my peace.
I remind myself
I’d rather have him and his messes
than not have him at all,
this house is OURS
But today, Lord, I am in need.
I need to borrow
from Your divine nature
because You promised
“Your divine power has granted to me
everything for life and godliness!”
Oh how I need everything You offer, Lord,
in this difficult time!
I cannot produce good responses,
don’t have patience
can’t manufacture godliness
or self-control or perseverance
But you invite me to come to Your throne room
ask for what I lack,
walk up to Your banquet table and take all I need
in every category!
You have set before me
an inexhaustible supply of Divine nature.
Help me feed on you always,
Fill me with Your love, for mine is inadequate.
Grant me Your patience, grace, and every other virtue I lack,
which is all of them.
Fill me Lord.
The answer to surviving any crisis is to go to God for help. Peter the apostle wrote a list of qualities every relationship needs to thrive in 2 Peter 1:3-8. God loves to help though we often resist asking, thinking we should be able to do this on our own.
Today, in these present difficulties and hardships foisted upon us by an invisible virus I wonder what else God wants to teach me. The challenges to our marriage presented by voluntary confinement remind me I need Jesus every day in every way. I will always need what only He can provide as long as I have breath.
Only in Heaven will today’s hardships of being stuck at home be understood. Only then will living through the uncharted territory of Covid-19 make sense. One day we will see God as He is and then … none of today will matter anymore.
Christ is Risen!
He is on His throne!
We can come before Him at any time with any need.
May we learn His sufficiency in these days of confinement.
*Portions of this blog post were taken directly out of Chapter 29 of “My Heart, Ever His”, published by BethanyHouse.